“You always ‘rook’ the same"
WWE has been criticised after champion Jinder Mahal made racist remarks referring to The Karate Kid‘s Mr Miyagi.
The Washington Post reports that the incident occurred in a wrestling match between Mahal and rival Shinsuke Nakamura. Mahal is WWE’s first champion of Indian descent.
“You always ‘rook’ the same,” Mahal said, mocking his Japanese opponent. “They call you Mr. Miyagi,” he added, referencing The Karate Kid.
WWE content is always scripted and Mahal’s incendiary comments were no different.
Audiences were unimpressed with Mahal’s remarks. “That’s racist,” spectators shouted. Fans even began chanting, “That’s too far!”.
15-year-old Noumaan Faiz said in an email to The Washington Post, “WWE should have never approved this,” adding that the comments left a “bad taste” in the audience’s mouth.
“Racism is definitely an idiotic way to get heat and not necessary,” said Faiz. “It also makes the writers look bad.”
Twitter users were also outraged at Mahal’s remarks. “The entire @JinderMahal racist storyline is disgusting. I’m fine w/ heel heat, but racism shouldn’t be a cheap plot device. Do better, @WWE,” one Tweeter wrote.
However, longtime wrestling fan Fernando Padilla, 33, was not offended and said he was just proud to see two minorities fighting. He added that the “diverse crowd” surrounding him at the match did not seem uncomfortable with Mahal’s comments.
“That’s kind of what you expect from WWE,” Padilla said.
WWE addressed the controversy in a statement that said the company “is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”
— WWE (@WWE) September 20, 2017
— Susurrus (@zomboid_muse) September 20, 2017
HEY @WWE HAVING A BROWN PERSON SAY OPENLY RACIST RHETORIC DOES NOT MAKE IT OK
— the babefollower (@SocksMahoney) September 20, 2017
— MarriedMarksPodcast (@MarriedMarks) September 20, 2017
— Thomas Jackson Kay (@tjkay22) September 20, 2017